Tuesday 20 September 2022
The updated version of the Committee for Home Affairs' Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Strategy sets out goals and actions across four areas of future work: Prepare, Prevent, Protect, and Pursue.
All these areas are based on tackling perpetrators and supporting victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence.
Now looking ahead over the next three years until 2025, the strategy is centred on a multi-agency partnership made up of teams from across the community.
The strategy will tie together the broad range of services which already exist across the island to ensure the best use of resources, information, and evidence.
Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said:
"Our strategy aims to tackle all forms of gender-based violence in an integrated way, encompassing a wide range of acts including domestic abuse, sexual violence and harassment, child sexual exploitation, street harassment and more. All of these issues are very important to us as a Committee and we wanted to ensure that they were all covered in the strategy so we can have one, united, approach to tackling them - the provision of a Sexual Assault Referral Centre is just one of these initiatives. Our community is full of people and teams passionate about ensuring victims of these acts are properly supported, and perpetrators are properly prosecuted, and we hope that the multi-agency approach which underpins our strategy will ensure they get the support they need to achieve these goals."
The Prepare element of the strategy focuses on improving the way that data collection and general understanding is handled across the Bailiwick, and will see a general training standard developed for all services that work in this area. Guernsey Police, for example, will soon be undertaking nationally-accredited Domestic Abuse training (Domestic Abuse Matters), provided by the Safe Lives charity.
The Prevent area of work will further support public awareness campaigns and the implementation of policies (ie. workplace policies) to challenge behaviours that can foster domestic abuse or sexual violence.
The Protect element of the strategy will focus on ensuring there is proper support for victims, and the proper processing of offenders through the criminal justice system. Actions include:
- the development of a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (Sarc), the pilot of which is currently being progressed at pace
- working to increase the number of prosecutions
- implementing new legislation to improve weaker areas of the law (coercive control and stalking, for example).
Finally, the Pursue area of work aims to reduce reoffending, and ensure perpetrators are dealt with efficiently and effectively. Some considerations being looked at in this area include the creation of a domestic abuse and stalking register and the delivery of behaviour change interventions to offenders (based on risk levels).
Deputy Sue Aldwell, Committee for Home Affairs lead on domestic abuse and sexual violence, said:
"As I hope we have made clear in the Policy Letter itself, the Bailiwick already has a great deal of existing services to support those who have experienced sexual assault, abuse, or exploitation, whether recent or historic. The aims of the SARC will be to provide a one stop location where victims of rape and sexual assault can self-refer in order to receive medical care and counselling and have the opportunity to assist the police investigation if they wish to. The development of this service is complex, and it will not be up and running immediately, but our local agencies take sexual assault very seriously so I would really encourage anyone who has experienced assault to seek support. If you are in immediate danger or require medical attention, please contact the police or emergency medical services."